Thursday, January 10, 2013

Friday Fun: Breakfast Chemistry

Should we tell her we don't 
call it that anymore?!? 
Source: | Laura P.
Dr. LKB, beloved chemist of the Twittersphere, just passed along a chemophobic gem from Grist. Titled "Honest junk food advertisements show you what kind of crap you're really eating" - no [sic], that's really how it reads - the post points out recent work by a Silicon Valley-based graphic designer who's equated various GRAS food additives with a vast industrial chemical conspiracy. Here's a sample:

Each "honest ad" gets a bonus eye-opening disclaimer at the bottom, revealing, gadzooks! - snippets cribbed directly from respective Wikipedia pages.

Well, two can play this game! Let me tell you about my standard breakfast...
Every morning, I go downstairs to brew up a harsh brown slurry of stimulants, sterols, and terpenes (I usually take it with some aspartame / maltodextrin, thanks!). 
When my stomach grumbles, I reach for a 6-pack of whole wheat toroids, chock-full of gums, algin, sorbic acid, and sodium chloride. After 50 seconds of resistor-charring, I spread microbially-enhanced whey-milkfat composite all over it, ideally while it's still warm. 
Sometimes I'll wash this all down with a fiber-filled suspension of cellulose oligomers, ascorbic acid, and fructose. Yum!
[Sigh]. Chemists, how do you do mornings?


  1. It is all a bit chemophobic but there is a good point as well. A lot of junk food has all these additives to make it look nice or last longer. A bowl of cereal is a great example - they added vitamins because otherwise it was not nutritionally useful. More like sweetened wood shavings, some of these things.

    It always reminds me of Michael Pollan on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. His comment was we should eat food, but that is made more difficult because of the number of food-like substances in the grocery stores. Plus that bit with Paula Poundstone and Ring Dings is classic.

  2. I typically reach for a delicious container of Streptococcus thermophilus fermented lactose disaccharide... usually fragaria x ananassa flavored. And pass me some of that xanthine alkaloid mixture your brewing up. Hold the sucrose but put a slight pour of fatty acid lactose butterfat in there will ya SAO? Thanks!

  3. Anyone want to tell these people that molecular gastronomy chefs use some of these things in the posters (methylcellulose for sure) to make five star quality celebrated food?